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Created: Thursday, 09 February 2012 15:16 7271 Hits Category: MyBlog Written by John Kellett


Free Z Central Station 2012 Monthly Calendar


Welcome to the 2012 Z Central Station's free PDF monthly calendar!  This is a free download.  Just click on the calendar image to start the download.  Enjoy!




Created: Friday, 30 September 2011 12:34 8117 Hits Category: MyBlog Written by John Kellett

Micro-Trains Line Dormitory Camp Cars #2 Build


I enjoy building laser kits, but have never attempted to document a build.  This is my first try at documenting a laser-kit build.  But first, remember I am not a professional and I may deviate from the original instructions, even worse… make mistake(s).


After opening the package, I laid out the pieces.  I am not building the kits as logging cars, but plan to decorate them as MOW cars.  So my first step is to use my Prismacolor pens to paint the outset sides.  I have French Grey 20% and Cool Grey 50% color pens, the percentages represent the darkness (opaqueness) of the color.  I used the broad end of the French Grey 20% to paint a base color.  I am not worried about uniform painting, this is a MOW car.

Now we get to business with assembly.  The 3-piece chassis assembly is simple since they are “peel-and-stick”.  I have one chassis assembled and the other with three braces and a wall glued to it.  My preference is using Tacky Glue, but any wood glue will work.  And to apply the glue I use a toothpick or the safety pin, sometimes it is easier to hold the safety pin.  The emery board is used to clean excess from the parts and any dried glue from the toothpick/safety pin.

You can see the cars are taking shape, and you can see how the MOW cars are developing their own unique personality.  The sides are glued to the chassis and this completes Page #1 instructions.  This also completes assembly of the large pieces.

This next photo displays the completed instructions Page #2 and Page #3.  This part is the time consuming portion of the build.  Applying the “peel-and-stick” windows, door trim, and side strips took some time.  Using tweezers, I tried to lightly place the piece onto the area of coverage, then used the toothpick to set the piece.  One comment about the “peel-and-stick” is once it is on, it is firmly on.

 Note: If I every build another logging car kit, I will assemble the window frames, windows, and door strips first before assembling the sides.  It would have been easier to apply the window frames, windows, and the door strips before the wall is glued to the chassis.


Now you can see the cars really developing.  Oh, and there is an extra window frame, window, and strips for a future kit bash.

Now comes the car roofing.  Original instructions stated to glue the roof parts on to the frame.  Knowing that “I” have a problem with lining up pre-glued pieces with “area coverage”, I took a different assembly route.  I used the pre-glued roof side and applied that to the car frame, which I did not have to wait for it to dry or set.  Some of the roof pieces fit in a specific manner, so be aware of that.  This step also completes the instructions for Page #4.

Here you can see the kit pieces are missing from their original locations.  The MOW cars are definitely looking good.  Ok.  To glue the roofing tarp on, I used Elmer’s “Washable School Glue”.  Elmer’s produces several formulas of their white glue, and this type is thin and very manageable, it gives me extra time to align roofing pieces.  The stacks are in and this completes not only Page #5 instructions but the complete instruction pamphlet.

The stacks have been painted with Polly Scale Tarnished Black.  I started to use some chalks on the roofing.  I believe I used a few shades of gray, black, brown, and red around the stacks.  I applied my custom decals, and it looks my D&RGW MOW train project is turning out fantastic.  Once the decals are dried I will weather the cars more with chalks, then seal with some Dullcoat.

These car kits have been out for some time, it has not been until recently that I picked up a few, and set some time aside to build them.  I can see many different variations to building/decorating these cars.  Once I get the final finish, I will post those photos.

Created: Wednesday, 29 December 2010 22:16 8414 Hits Category: MyBlog Written by John Kellett

I have always wanted to start a blog, but 'starting' it is usually the first stumbling block.  This is true with a 2' by 5' canvas behind me for a layout.  I have projects and a test track on it, but nothing resembling any work of 'my' dream layout.  I am really hoping mid January to start some layout planning.  I do know I want to include a curved trestle bridge, a pickle plant, turntable, a couple of other types of bridges, and keep the scheme during the transition period.  I have some Marklin steamers and MTL F7's that will work well together.  But more on that project(s) later.

I do want to share different aspects of my modeling experience, along with maybe some ZCS website aspects.  I think mixing things up will be interesting.  Maybe some personal details too, so you can get to know who Soccrdad30 really is.  I do not want to 'plan' blog entries, so do not expect scheduled entries.

So, with that in mind.  I would like to share "My Favorite Z Project" Contest entry.  My project is a gas!  Okay, bad pun.  I am "Kitbashing" an MTL 40' standard single door boxcar, and turning it into a Navy U.S.N.X. Helium Freight Car.  What is interesting, is there were 3 container helium cars and 30 container helium cars produced.  And these were in the gray paint scheme.  I am working on the 30 container freight car.

In the below photo you can see the car so far. I used Plastruct channeled strip for the side supports, while cutting out the middle of the car but leaving the roofwalk.  I have the containers glued together and painted in gray.  I used 3/32” Plastruct tubing for the containers.  And you can see some of the tools I used, including my cheap 10.00 chopper that I bought at a train show (bonus!).  Slugger got me hooked on Plastruct Plastic Weld – Love it!  And for Christmas 2010, I received a couple of Railway Prototype Cyclopedia’s.  What is interesting is in this booklet has an article about brake wheels, but look at the Ajax April 1943 Brake Wheel ad showing a U.S.N.X. helium car.  The side supports are configured differently from the research images and from commercial RTR cars.  Oh well, I will stay with what I started.


Okay, here is a closer view of my contest entry.  I just need to paint, create my decals, then apply the decals before inserting the containers.  I know some thoughts are going on about the finer details.  But, on my next one, I would like to get it more proto.  This one I am happy to finish, and to be learning new modeling skills.  My next photos will be of the finished helium car, and will be entered into the contest.


Created: Wednesday, 05 October 2011 19:07 7181 Hits Category: MyBlog Written by John Kellett

Micro-Trains Line Logging Camp Cars #3 Build


I built the Micro-Trains Line Dormitory Camp Cars Kit #2, now I am going to document the build for the camp cars kit #3.  The cars are both about 32’ long but from coupler-to-coupler they are about 40’ long.  Again, remember I am not a professional and I may deviate from the original instructions, or even worse… make mistake(s).


After opening the package, I laid out the pieces to check them over.  I am not building the kits as logging cars, they are going to be added to my train of D&RGW MOW cars.  So my first step is to use my Prismacolor pens to paint the outset sides.  I used French Grey 20% broad end to color the pieces.  I am not worried about uniform painting, these will be MOW cars.



Now, the kit assembly.  The 3-piece chassis assembly is very simple since they are “peel-and-stick”.  I have both chassis assembled, but this time I attached the wheels and trucks.  I found it easier to attach the trucks at this stage since the chassis is flat and I can use the small screwdriver to apply pressure to the bolster pin.  In my build of MTL’s Dormitory Camp Cars, I attached the trucks last which took some delicacy so I did not damage the assembled car.  And my preference in using Tacky Glue, but any wood glue will work.  And to apply the glue I use a toothpick or the safety pin, sometimes it is easier to hold the safety pin.



The MOW cars are really developing their own unique personality.  If you notice the door frames, window frames, clerestory’s, and windows, are installed BEFORE attaching them to the chassis.  In my previous logging car build, it was cumbersome to me to attach the window frames and windows after the sides were previously attached to the chassis.  The progress of this page completes Page #1 and Page #3 instructions.  This also partially completes Page #2 instructions.



The next photo displays the completed Page #2 instructions. The trim strips have been applied covering the center/end support tabs.  Use tweezers to lightly place the piece onto the area of coverage, then used a toothpick to set the piece.


The cars are really developing.  There is an extra window frame, window, and strips for a future use.  I keep everything that is left over.



I attached the roof upside down (wood up).  I plan to use Elmer’s Washable White glue to attach the roof paper.  Some roof pieces fit in a specific manner, so be aware of that.  This photo completes the instructions for Page #4.  I took the Prismacolor pen to “color in” any bare spots around the windows and trim pieces.



The roof tarp is attached and the stacks are set.  This photo shows the completed instructions for Page #4 and Page #5.  The last item(s) to attach are the couplers.  These car kits are very nice.  Normally one could spend a few nights assembling the cars.  I am sure there are some speed demons out there that could easily build the cars in a day.



The stacks have been painted with Polly Scale Tarnished Black.  I started to use some chalks on the roofing.  I used a few shades of gray, black, brown, and some reddish brown around the stacks.  I applied my custom D&RGW MOW decals.  Now I have two more unique MOW cars for my train project.  I plan to weather the cars more with chalks, then seal with Testor’s Dullcoat.


Created: Thursday, 18 January 2007 04:58 6353 Hits Category: MyBlog Written by John Kellett

Megaphone blue_guy

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Created: Saturday, 12 February 2011 15:41 6178 Hits Category: MyBlog Written by John Kellett

You may have a link on your desktop, a bookmark or favorite for ZCS, maybe you just key in zcentralstation.com into your browsers URL window.  Maybe, you key in ‘zcentral’ into your favorite search engine, either way or any way you get to
www.zcentralstation.com.  There are many aspects of running a website, but what I want to share with you are the ‘Trues”, the actual data from 2010.  The old saying goes “Hind sight is 20/20”, and that is true.


How about I share more with you?  Here is actual 2011 data up to February 11th 2011.  In January of 2011 we had 4,188 unique visitors with about a 3 to 1 return visit ratio, utilizing 19 gigabyte of internet bandwidth from our web server the visiting home computers.  At this point we have 1,639 unique visitors in February 2011 with the same 3 to 1 return visit ratio.  January 2011 was a better month than January 2010, and February is looking to better than last year too.

Here is the ZCS 2010 chart.  You can see by the end of the year, we were really bringing in the visitors.  That is when I worked on a banner trade program with Trainini and Z Friends Europe.  Thank you Stonebridge Models for coming on board to help support ZCS.  The only part that is untrue is October results.  The first of October 2010 we migrated to our new hosting company Site 5, but we did not have our site stats fully operational, so we ‘lost’ 10 days of ZCS visitor data.  As far as April 2010, I am not sure what the problem was, I would have to do some research.  Just think ZCS pushed out 182 gigabytes of data in 2010, all pictures I presume.

Ok, ZCS had that many visitors and hits, but where did they come from?  How about a breakdown by country, that also displays the total pages, hits and bandwidth usage.  Well, this next graph tells me that I need to get Gerd and Alex to work harder. (sorry guyz, lol)

Here is a breakdown of what our visitors used to connect to ZCS.  Please remember for operating systems, Windows could mean any version from Windows 3.11 to Windows 7, along with the many flavors of Linux.  The same goes for Internet Browsers.  Internet Explorer 2.0 to the new Internet Explorer 9.0 could have been used to access ZCS.  And there are many versions of Firefox, Safari, Opera, and Google Chrome.  So if I really wanted a breakdown by browsers or operating systems I can access that report.  What is interesting is someone is out there is using their Wii to access ZCS.

This next screen breaks down the search engine that is used to connect to ZCS.  The reported numbers, 61.3% of our visitor hits use a direct link, bookmark, favorite, or link in email.  Almost 38% of our hits come from other web sites containing a link to ZCS.  Then the final 1% hits comes from search engines such as Google, Yahoo and the rest.

The last two screens displays the keywords and key phrases that are typed in the Google, Yahoo, or other search engine box to get to ZCS.

Well, I have presented to you few of the reports that I can get from my hosting company.  We can look at all of the data in any way shape or form, dissect it, and create exotic formulas.  But, what it really comes down to…  I want to see ZCS continue to grow and mature with you.  It does not matter how you get to ZCS.   It matters that you find ZCS useful in some way to help with your Z scale train modeling.

ZCS has many avenues to interact with other modelers.  We have a 24 x 7 chat service (all are welcome).  Eventz calendar to let others know of show, demonstration, or unique occasions. Forums to ask or answer questions, no matter how silly you think they may be.  A huge gallery to display your work or to search for modeling examples.  There are many more features that you are welcome to use.

John Kellett



Created: Tuesday, 14 April 2015 20:33 2867 Hits Category: General Written by John Kellett

A few days ago, I received an email from one of my Yahoo groups, which I would like to share and see what your thoughts are.  Though the modeler in question does not model in Z, he is into model railroading.  The email in its entirety is below in black font and the sender's name removed.  John

Hi all, 

Two years ago,  I was putting in maybe 5-10 hours per kit or kit-bashed N Scale Structure.  This including some air misting, detailing and even putting in floors with multiple lights.

I was heading over 20 hours per model with roof and other interior/exterior detailing, when I came upon a fellow Model Railroader who was getting out...Citing the hobby was taking too much  time (and money) away from his family. I bought his tools, which includes a fine array, purchased from around the world. Over 100 micro drills. He was easily spending 50+ hours per structure. He had created his own jigs for gluing.

I began to do the same, mostly to fit and finish and aligning all parts perfectly before applying any glue. No gaps, all set at 90 degree angles...etc.  Absolutely no glue showing inside or out.  What took me one evening now took me days into weeks.  I began to buy my nail files at the Dollar Store and every week at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon.

I then began to whittle in Miller Engineering signs, and my structures began to have a layered affect with a 3 Dimensional quality...with indented balconies and entry ways. I was heading into months to complete one model and was near 100 hours per model.

I then began to plan models, taking several small bits and pieces from several kits. Mostly from second-hand glued up kits. My only visits to real LHS and Train Stores was for scratch building supplies. Perhaps buying upwards of 20-40 built (used) kits in a box for $50, then taking them all back down to their many components.  Can take me upwards of 3 months to set aside the needed parts, before I even begin the model. I began to measure original buildings for a more prototype rendition. Finding that often an HO Scale foot print to a given structure was still at 80% to the footprint presented even in N scale.  I began to put N Scale Doors and Windows into scratch built/kit-bashed structures which might look normal to some people as to their size on an HO Scale Layout. 

Example > My fire house is uses two N Scale Fire houses to produce one  model; and yet it is still about 80% Compression. My Downtown Hotel uses three Life/Like Downtown Hotels.  Then i got worse.  I am now going around picking up anything which I might be able to use in N Scale. Acrylic what-evers from places like Tap Plastics or from the shelves of Thrift Shops. Not just plastic or even wood, but varieties of metal. 

At about this time, I began to get the notion of why an Artist never shows his work till 100% completed.  And Oops!  An obsessive-compulsive trait began to seep through in my behavior. I would find myself into a model at over 20 hours, then !??! decide to start completely over....Cause I knew I could do much better from the Git Go on a Second or even 7th attempt.

>> Took seven attempts to cut a thin strip of Miller Engineering material then bend it around a curve for a Theater to look like Neon Lighting..Then...actually get it to light, after it had been glued in place....And still light up the next week.

The I began to step it up again with modeled foundations.  And worse...Lighting. Even lighting the basement of a model.

I began to incorporate Fiber Optic lighting for subtle affects and have used a number board for street address on an N Scale House. A year later it is still working...but I have yet to complete that model.  LED's on rheostats. Woodland Scenics and a another system just hit the market but before them...I was making my own on PC boards.

Smooth transitions between joined pieces by using a variety of tools and jigs for gluing and setting up along with a lot of fine nail files and sanding paper upwards to 800 grit. Joined walls without the need for ivy or a downspot/drain.  I am now incorporating indented El Wire and experimenting with back lighted names on building...

I am nearly afraid that I will be making my own Miller Engineering Signs Soon'.  I am already at the point where I am creating my own flower beds from the 50% off sales at Hobby Lobby from their flower sections with a fine cutting X-acto blade. And putting them together with a tweezers like  a fly fisherman. Needle tips of super glue.   I went to creating scene dioramas on a module/sabot board. and incorporating more than one Miller Engineering sign into one building, along with fiber optics, LED's and El Wire. 

One model has just tipped over 200 hours.  Then I stopped and went Cold Turkey on my structures. Pushed myself away from my modeling desk.

Why?  Needed the break for one...but also...For me to continue...into older age...I need a better work bench.  More lighting, easier access, TV/Internet hook-up with plenty of Hot Tea standing by. A better more comfortable environment.

And the truth be known...I began to scare myself. Takes a lot of concentration for a 200 hour model, sort of like movie with Charleston Heston where while painting the Sisten Chapel (The Agony and the Ecstasy) he falls from the scaffold. Yes,  I believe I drove myself to sickness.  And my hands began to hurt and spasm.

Yes, I found my limit and it's just a bit beyond 200 hours for one model, even if stretched out over several days. There is a point in my endeavors where i must quit a model and put it to the side..Even if not yet completed.

Just wondering if anyone else has found themselves sanding on ONE model after 200 hours, where your sense comes back and you say enough? (at least for now and several days to come).  What is the longest time you have spent on one model? Whether completed or not.

Created: Wednesday, 08 February 2012 10:32 7500 Hits Category: Instructionals Written by John Kellett

Welcome to Articles and Blog Scroll!


Anytime you create an Blog entry from "My Blog Dashboard" located under the "My ZCS" menu option, it will be inserted into this scroll module.

This module will 'grab' the first image in the article or blog and display it along with an active title link.  In the future I plan to add more articles, blogs, and interviews from the vaults of Z Central Station.





Created: Saturday, 25 October 2014 11:25 5442 Hits Category: Instructionals Written by John Kellett

Micro-Trains 2 Story Barracks Build by Modelersguild.com

These Micro Trains kits are nice, real nice. A few nights build timeguild 09 02 d08 and you have a piece for that micro sized layout. No major surgery involved just plain fun.

guild 09 01 51To start this build we followed the instructions and sealed the card with dull coat. Sealing the card protects it from the acrylic pains. We painted the trims and foundation grey. When dry we cut out and glued these to the wall sections while still unassembled. Add the glazing to the backs of the walls at this time.

Put together the interior frame and foundation pieces, let set. While propping the walls in place glue the side walls to the frame and foundation.

guild 09 01 d005To keep the foundation flat while gluing we clamped it to a straight edge. Let everything dry completely.

guild 09 01 d011With all the porch and ladder pieces painted we started adding these to the end walls. This was done to make the task easier, adding these to the walls upright would be an unnecessary challenge.

guild 09 01 d012Time to glue the end walls on, I tell ya these brass weights are real nice. Definitely worth much more then the scrap we pulled them from.

guild 09 01 d015When all is ready we added the roof panels to the building. run a small bead of glue around the tops of the walls to place this on, make sure to wipe off access glues (the excess is unmistakable in the final product).

guild 09 02 d06Cut our the printed roofing to fit the panels and glue on. Make sure to scrape the paper with a hard plastic card.

Ron Pare

Created: Saturday, 25 October 2014 19:58 6295 Hits Category: Instructionals Written by John Kellett

Micro-Trains Farmers Co-op Build by Modelersguild.com

100 0856I am definitely getting better at Z-Scale. Another Micro-Trains kit, I am liking these more and more with each build. It is a nice two night-er, and I suggest, a nice sit down with the podcast, Model Rail Cast Show and enjoy the build.

100 0860Its not a matter of sight for me, but more of a knowing how to do it, makes all the difference. We know this kit would look great in any era or location you can come up with.

The kit is wood, with some sticky back sheets.

100 0862Building the main deck first, add the support posts and let the thinly laid glue set good. Then attach the cross bents gently to the posts.

100 0872To put the stairs together, the hardest part is getting the first bent on. I put a dab of ca on to grab it. Then followed up with some yellow glue on a toothpick. Add the steps by taking the backing off the step and sticking it to the knife blade and placing in the stringer, starting at the top step.

100 0875 Next we attach the steps to the deck, again using a toothpick, Let dry.

100 0884Painting the different parts, as you can see is a breeze. Pick your color and stick tot he parts you want painted before you even remove them from the sheet. We painted the walls tan, and the trim pieces brown. Let all the components dry completely before moving on, as we want all the pieces rigid  when attaching the trim pieces.

100 0887Again using the knife, stick the window frame to the blade and attach to the wall carefully.

100 0888Attaching the glazing is pretty simple, I cut a pretty big square and glued it on with yellow glue. Same with the big sliding doors, yellow glue. The doors we added in the slight open position.

100 0889Raising the walls one at a time, we first dabbed a wee bit of glue at the bottom of the wall to stick it in place. Add the second wall and seal the corner. Following the same procedure for each remaining wall.

To finish off the model we added the utilities boxes to the outside wall.  We glued on the roof sections, leaving the sticky side up for the roofing paper.

Ron Pare

guild 09 010118 guild 09 010120 guild 09 010119

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